While he was never busted for violent or drug crimes, Cain built up a rap sheet for offenses such as trespassing and obstructing a highway. Family members say he could be "loud and boisterous" at times, but that's as far as it went.

Unlike a lot of homeless people, says Joel Hamilton, former owner of the Antique Marketplace, on the northeast corner of McDowell and Seventh Avenue, Cain was always clean; he was apparently able to find someplace to shower each day. The transient was a "regular" on the corner, Hamilton says, often sleeping in the area or pushing a shopping cart containing his belongings.

Hamilton says he sometimes talked with Cain, who — unlike other homeless people in the area — wasn't trying to avoid notice.

Tom Samora contends that Garfield didn’t need to kill Cain.
Michael Ratcliff
Tom Samora contends that Garfield didn’t need to kill Cain.
Cain’s adoptive family (from left to right), Theresa Pennington, A.J. and Mae Cain, and Judy Anderson.
Michael Ratcliff
Cain’s adoptive family (from left to right), Theresa Pennington, A.J. and Mae Cain, and Judy Anderson.

"He was never, at any time, aggressive toward me," Hamilton says. "He was very engaging. He had a couple of theories about the government; he'd been in the military. If I asked him to move on, he would."

Cain didn't show Garfield the same respect. He had a knack for pushing the prickly store owner's buttons.


Roger Garfield knew before he took over the antique shop that the area harbored a sizable homeless population, but he says he wasn't prepared for someone like Cain.

In early 2006, after running his own business as a Valley Farmer's insurance agent for more than 25 years, Garfield finally fulfilled his dream of opening his own antique store. He'd had a lifelong interest in antiques and collectibles and had a knack for scoring quality items at garage sales.

But his life was in flux. He'd divorced his wife a few years earlier, and she'd ended up with his insurance business. He had a steady girlfriend, though, who would become his current wife.

Garfield paid rent to state schools Superintendent Horne, the property owner, and decided which other dealers could set up and lease space in the store.

Despite his interest in retailing, Garfield wasn't a people person. Sias and other dealers at the store describe him as curmudgeonly, infamous for the way he sometimes ripped into a customer or an employee.

A 2009 listing in New Times' Best of Phoenix gives the Historic District Antique Mall a "Best Overhaul" award, in part because Garfield — who isn't named in the short article — was no longer there. Robrt L. Pela, the New Times writer who penned the blurb, says he referred to Garfield as a "tyrant" in the piece because the shop owner had once yelled at him for asking the price of something. On the second and last time Pela went in the Garfield-owned shop, he'd heard Garfield screaming at a female clerk.

Antique dealers Tom Samora and Pam McMillen, who worked alongside Garfield, say he was often "nasty" — though not to them.

"He flew off the handle a lot at the shop," McMillen says.

Garfield, whom New Times interviewed at the county's Fourth Avenue Jail, pauses when asked whether any of that might be true.

"Temper isn't the same as shooting someone," he says. "Should I be in prison for personality flaws?"

Garfield expresses indignation at the way he's been treated by the system. He believes he was protecting himself and the lives of customers and workers in the shop on the day of the shooting.

He says Joel Hamilton must be lying about chatting with Cain.

"You couldn't have a long conversation with Robert Cain," Garfield insists. "All he did was talk at you, and it didn't make any sense what he was saying."

Susan Brown, Garfield's girlfriend at the time and current wife (who now goes by Susan Garfield), claims to have seen Cain talking to rotten fruit he'd thrown in the street. Garfield's son, Daniel, who worked part-time at the store in 2006, says he once saw Cain screaming in apparent fury at passing motorists, for no particular reason, outside his father's store.

After the incident with the red couch, the transient drifted by the shop all too frequently for Garfield's liking. It seemed to Garfield that Cain was stalking him.

When Cain was sure no one else could see, Garfield says, the homeless man would look at him through the store windows and draw a finger across his throat. No one else reported witnessing such a silent threat to Garfield.

Garfield says he was terrified of Cain; he says some people called Cain the "anti-Santa Claus." Other homeless people in the area described Cain as "incredibly scary" and advised him, Garfield says, to watch out for the white-bearded transient.

Sias, on the other hand, says Garfield became obsessed with Cain, complaining anytime he saw the man outside. He even once rousted Cain off the bus-stop bench near the shop, she says.

Garfield says it was fear that spurred him to buy a .32-caliber Kel-Tec, one of the smallest, lightest commercial handguns ever made. Sometimes he kept it in a drawer in the store. But when he saw Cain "circling" around the business, he says, he'd strap it to his hip in a brown holster, as a deterrent.

He knew next to nothing about the firearm, he says, and had shot a gun only once in his life, when he was 19.

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8 comments
Alittletruthphoenix
Alittletruthphoenix

Attorney Sara J Powell is nothing more than a scum bag personal injury lawyer - check her website out - she proudly displays her membership in the "Million Dollar Fourm" at the bottom of the page - a group of attorney whom proudly proclaim their winning awards in excess of 1 million dollars for clients -

treasurehunter
treasurehunter

I go in this antique mall all the time. I HAD NO IDEA this even happened.

1shot1kill
1shot1kill

Interesting article.

The Garfield - Cain shooting has limited similarities to the Fish case.They both sound like "suicide by self-defense" since the deceased were both mentally / emotionally unstable.

For that matter, Garfield sounds like he doesn't have a full magazine either, e.g. Grand Canyon trip.

The background of provocation between Garfield and Cain certainly adds to the complexity. Provocation pretty much nullifies self-defense according to current law.

As Ray Stern probably is aware, there are two bills in the legislature right now to make concealed carry legal without the training, education and permit. House Bill 2347 and Senate Bill 1108This is a scary thought although education would probably have made little difference with Garfield since it does seem premeditated (and the article slants it this way).

What is unnerving about both killings is that while the shooters will probably end up walking the streets again, both are financially devastated defending themselves in the legal system. Putting the burden of proof on a shooter for self defense doesn't seem compatible with innocent til proven guilty.

The article is a severe indictment of both the public mental health system and the emergency 911 line. Cain was a danger to himself from people like Garfield and should have been in treatment. Guns laws are in place because even though the cops would rather the public not take the law "into their own hands", they acknowledge they can't be everywhere at once.

Publius Maximus
Publius Maximus

Don't worry, Russell Pearce will get you a special bill that allows Arizonans to shoot transients retroactively, so it will apply to Garfield. Joe Arpaio is probably preparing a medal for him.

Teo Buneo
Teo Buneo

From what the other tenants at the store have to say about Garfield and his anger problem and his own words demonstrate that he's a lily livered wimp who planned carefully for his murder of Mr. Cain. The man should get the full 21 years, Those jurors should have convicted on the 2nd degree charge. If you plan a murder it's first degree murder! "Tough Guy" Tom Horne should be shown the door by voters if he's staking his career on support of this murderous wimp. I've worked with little chicken shits with big chips on their shoulders and Garfield fits that description perfectly. I wonder how long it'll be before Mr.Fish murders another stranger that scares him?

mahkai
mahkai

Aggravated assault is more serious than simple assault. Cain would have had to have had a weapon in his possession in order for this to be the case. From this article, it is apparent that he did not.

Interesting article. Thank you.

Peoriaman
Peoriaman

and how about the man, in his own home, waving a bat at police in the City of Peoria was shot dead with two bullets? Wife calls police, police enter home, and kills the man. Great, time we all carry guns. I wouldn't be surprised this guy goes down, but the the murdering police get off scott free.

 
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